A home break-in can cause a huge loss—in personal property and peace of mind. Many burglaries are unsophisticated, with thieves simply breaking a window or entering an unlocked door. That means there are simple, inexpensive ways to help secure your home. Here are home security ideas to get you started.

A monitored alarm system can help protect the entire family and contact authorities when a problem occurs. AAA Members can protect their homes for less with SimpliSafe—members get a free security camera, two months of free monitoring and 15 AAA Dollars.

SimpliSafe options include entry and motion sensors, glass-break detection, video security, doorbell monitors and more. You can arm and disarm your system, watch cameras and see your event timeline—all from a mobile app. And the SimpliSafe system comes with a fast cell signal built in—no phone line needed.

We know you already know rule No. 1, but here is a reminder anyway: Keep your exterior doors locked. Here are other home security ideas to safeguard your doors:

  • Examine your exterior doors, including the one leading to your garage, to ensure the frames are strong and the hinges are protected. If your door has a mail slot, make sure a thief can’t reach through it to unlock your door.
  • Invest in quality locks. If you are new to your home and have never changed the lock, now is the time. Consider upgrading to a smart lock that lets you grant access remotely and automatically locks your door if you forget.
  • Use extra-long screws to reinforce the strike plate, which is the metal piece that surrounds the hole in the doorjamb that the deadbolt extends into.
  • Boost your security by adding a doorbell that captures video of what’s going on outside your door.
  • Consider a locking screen door or storm door—it adds another barrier that a potential thief must get through.
  • Secure sliding glass doors with a pole or rod placed in the track between the door and the jamb. Consider going high-tech here as well with a door sensor or glass-break sensor.

Does your insurance cover all your valuables should a break-in occur? Talk with an agent and discover the advantages of home insurance through AAA.

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The first step, again, is to make sure your windows are closed and locked when you leave home.

  • Consider a simple window sensor alarm that will alert you if the window is opened or broken.
  • Further secure windows by installing removable eyebolts (bolts with loops for heads) or window pins. These prevent windows from being opened from the outside.
  • Strengthen window glass. You can use security film or polycarbonate sheets—they should be installed by a professional. Security screens (which look like insect screens but are made of stainless steel mesh) and shatterproof glass are also options.

Bright lights can scare off thieves before they even try to enter a home. Install motion sensor lights above all outside entryways. Place the lights high enough from the ground that they can’t be disabled easily.

Don’t give thieves a hiding spot among tall plants. Trim overgrown shrubs away from windows and cut tree branches that could provide access to high windows. Place rocks or gravel beds around the house to make it harder to walk there and to make it easier to hear anyone lurking outside. Lock gates and sheds.

Your garage not only contains valuable items, but it also provides a way into your home. Consider keeping your garage door opener inside your house instead of in your car, where it could be more easily stolen. Check into upgrading to a smart garage door opener that lets you open and close the door from your phone—it can also alert you when the door is opened.

4 Free Bonus Home Security Ideas

Care for your keys. Don’t try to hide an extra key outside the house—thieves know all the likely hiding spots. Instead, leave a spare key with a trusted neighbor or relative.

Keep valuables out of sight. This includes not leaving the box from your new big-screen TV on your curb. Also, resist the temptation to share on social media the news of your TV’s arrival—potential thieves are on those channels, too.

Advertise how secure you are. Many experts say just the presence of a yard sign announcing security protection is enough to deter some would-be thieves. Of course, having a sign and actual security measures in place is a better option.

Don’t reveal that you’re away. You wouldn’t put a notice on your front door announcing you’re away for two weeks, but an untended lawn or piles of mail can send that signal just as clearly. Stop your mail, postpone deliveries and have a neighbor look after your lawn. Here are more ways to secure your home when you’re away.

Protect Your Home for Less

AAA Members can protect their homes for less with SimpliSafe. Members get a free security camera, two months of free monitoring and 15 AAA Dollars.

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